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Equilibrium theory applied to Top End Australian languages

Black, Paul (2006). Equilibrium theory applied to Top End Australian languages. In: Allan, Keith 2005 Conference of the Australian Linguistic Society, Melbourne, 28-30 September 2005.

Document type: Conference Paper
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Author Black, Paul
Title Equilibrium theory applied to Top End Australian languages
Conference Name 2005 Conference of the Australian Linguistic Society
Conference Location Melbourne
Conference Dates 28-30 September 2005
Convener Linguistics Program, Monash University
Conference Publication Title Selected papers from the 2005 Conference of the Australian Linguistic Society
Editor Allan, Keith
Place of Publication Australia
Publisher Australian Linguistic Society
Publication Year 2006
Start Page 1
End Page 9
Total Pages 9
Field of Research 200406 - Language in Time and Space (incl. Historical Linguistics, Dialectology)
2004 - Linguistics
HERDC Category E1 - Conference Publication (DEST)
Abstract Dixon’s equilibrium theory of lexical diffusion has been criticised on various grounds, but in the absence of certain knowledge of the prehistory of Australian languages it is virtually impossible to disprove. At the same time, it provides the basis for drawing inferences about linguistic prehistory that can be diametrically opposed to those based on widely accepted tradition. Whereas more traditional theory takes the relatively great linguistic divergence among northern and north western Australian languages to imply a long period of linguistic stability, the present paper shows how Dixon’s theory would imply that there has been considerable population movements throughout this area in recent millennia. This raises the question of whether any supporting evidence for such movement might be found, whether from archaeology or oral tradition.
Keyword equilibrium theory
comparitive linguistics
Australian Indigenous languages
lexical diffusion
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Created: Mon, 08 Dec 2014, 11:30:46 CST by Paul Black